Grand Openings: Writing Article Ledes that Draw Attention

Lede: the introductory section of a news story that is intended to entice the reader to read the full story (circa 1976) Merriam-WebsterWriitng-Firework-types of article ledes

Grand opening: a term used when a business announces their official opening. Grand openings convince people to stop in and participate. Often A Grand opening sometimes includes food, music, prizes, balloons, signs, or even fireworks.

In writing you use different devices, but you want a similar reaction. You want to lure people in and show them what you’ve written. Here are some ways of enticing an audience and encouraging them to stay until the end.

Direct – This lede is simple and strong.

The 6:00 news likes to use this type. In effect, it says, “Listen up, you’ll need this information.”

For Example: For people over fifty, a simple exercise can increase blood flow and may protect against a heart attack.

Descriptive – A descriptive lede paints a picture.Writing - types of article Ledes

For Example: Your subject is fear of the dentist. You’re lying on your back, and your heart is pounding. You count the ceiling tiles and try to remain calm. Gloved hands prod inside your mouth with a pointed tool. Did your heart rate just increase? You’re not alone.

Summary – The summary lede covers who, what, where, when and why.

It should give a quick summary of the story, but also invite the reader to explore further.

For example: Since he was 9 years old, John Carter wanted to play professional football. After a serious knee injury in high school, many thought John would have to choose a new career. However, doctors, determination, and a year and a half of therapy have proved the doubters wrong. John went on to play college ball, and next week he is trying out for the big leagues.

Quotation – You guessed iWriting - types of article ledes - quote met, this one starts with a quote.

It could be a celebrity, a quote from literature or from a professional. If the person is not well-known, you may have to include some context so that everyone understands why you quoted them.

For Example: An article about books vs. e-books could lede with this quote.

Comical – A humorous line, joke or pun can draw someone to read further.

It should clearly relate to the subject and not be too cute, or crude.Writing - types of article ledes-tell a joke or anecdote

For Example: An article about heavy traffic in cities might begin: As traffic increases in many areas, city planners are giving their citizens the round-about.

 Anecdote – A short story that relates to, illustrates, or opens up the concepts of the article.

It could be funny, instructional, or cautionary.

For example: An article about being a contestant on Iron Chef might begin with a tale about the first meal you ever cooked.

 Shocking – A shocking statement is made and is resolved or explained as the reader continues.Writing - types of article ledes - lightning

For Example: If you were writing about seat-belt safety you could open with, “A 5 second preparation could prevent 20,000 deaths every year.”

Combination – A hybrid is combining one or more of these ideas.

For the seat-belt article, you could begin with a funny story about a child who thinks that his dad is a prison guard for locking him into his seat each time they get into the car. You could continue with, “While the above story is funny and may convey the attitude of your little one; the fact is this 5 second preparation could prevent 20,000 deaths every year.”

The best way to get proficient at any of these types of ledes is to practice. I often find myself in a situation where it is too distracting to write an entire article, but I can practice writing titles and ledes. You will get better as you practice.

Sign up for future posts, add your thoughts, or try your hand at writing a specific lede and leave it below.

 

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4 comments on “Grand Openings: Writing Article Ledes that Draw Attention
  1. Cate Macabe says:

    Thanks for this information on article ledes. I’ve never done research into writing articles. I’ve always just thrown myself into the writing. I’ll try to be more aware and give some of these a try.

  2. Wonderful tips and I love the idea of just sitting and writing ledes! Thanks.

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